Real Estate Newsletter: The Battle for LA’s Most Extravagant Mansion

Welcome back to the real estate newsletter. A huge real estate smackdown is taking place in Bel-Air.

The players: Nile Niami, the chic Hollywood real estate developer whose mega-villas are getting bigger and bigger, and Don Hankey, the die-hard moneylender who helped Niami fund its latest project.

The price: a 105,000 square meter house called “The One”, which is without exaggeration looking for its equal in size and splendor – even in one of the wealthiest regions of the country for luxury real estate.

Rumor has it that the long-awaited residence will hit the market for $ 225 million. But their future is far from concrete, and Times reporter Laurence Darmiento documents it all in his latest article.

In the “less than $ 225 million” news, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner set the highest price of the year, at least for Encino, when they sold their modern mansion for $ 15.2 million. It’s also the second most expensive sale the San Fernando Valley neighborhood has ever seen. Joe’s brother Nick holds the top spot.

Encino saw another high profile sale this week when Kelly Clarkson unloaded her farmhouse for $ 8.24 million – a steep price, but still just under the $ 8.5 million she paid for it three years ago .

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis hope for better luck in Hidden Valley. After completing their custom mound facility called KuKu Farms, they listed their traditional location nearby for $ 12.25 million.

Are you thinking of getting an offer on a house? Whether you’re vying for Kutcher and Kunis’s spot or for a cheaper spot, think twice about writing a love letter to the seller with your bid. Columnist Steve Lopez has looked at the practice that is becoming more popular and controversial at the same time.

If you want your own story in this newsletter, now is your chance. I’m writing a house search column full of wild real estate fairy tales and I’d love to hear the details from you. Click the link and give me some details.

While you catch up on the latest, visit and like our Facebook page, where you can find property stories and updates all week.

The battle for “The One”, Bel-Air’s infamous mega-mansion

“The One” in Bel-Air.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The enormity of “The One” is hard to grasp, but an aerial view of the largest modern house in the United States offers perspective, writes Laurence Darmiento.

When viewed from a drone, the white marble structure, once marketed for $ 500 million, looks like a fortress looming over the scattered dwellings of a village.

The fact that such a giant villa could be built says a lot about the asymmetrical excesses of our time – in which the struggle for living space takes place in the valleys, while only a tiny fraction of the world can afford to climb over them.

It’s also testament to the will of an obsessed developer eager to build the most extravagant mansion he can imagine. Now the place slips through his fingers as he battles a die-hard moneylender who has more than $ 100 million for the project.

Power couple hit a high for the year in Encino

A rectangular pool in a large courtyard in front of a sprawling mansion.

The modern mansion was built in 2019 and is filled with glass, imported stone, and aged natural wood.

(Jae Omar design)

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner switch coasts. A few days after the couple spent $ 11 million on a glass villa in Miami, the couple sold their Encino location for $ 15.2 million.

That bill wasn’t big enough to snag the Encino award from another Jonas brother, Nick, who and his wife, Priyanka Chopra, paid $ 20 million for a 20,000-square-foot house in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood two years ago .

Jonas (Joe, not Nick, if you keep the score) and Turner walk away with a $ 1.1 million profit after paying $ 14.1 million for the property when it was rebuilt in 2019 , show records. They first listed it for $ 16.75 million this summer.

The modern pad was designed by Jae Omar who used a design palette made from glass, imported stone and aged natural wood. It has nine bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and tons of unique amenities like an aquarium, cigar humidor, smoke machine, DJ station, disco lights, and a kegerator (if you’re not familiar, this is a special refrigerator that is used to store and Used to dispense beer).

‘Idol’ singer is finally selling

A complex with a pool and a large garden.

The modern farmhouse, built in 2018, includes a swimming pool and a two-story guest house.

(Laura D’Anna / MediaCarrot Photography)

The sales frenzy for Kelly Clarkson continues. Months after selling her 20,000-square-foot Tennessee mansion for $ 6.3 million, American Idol alum raised $ 8.24 million for her Encino farmhouse.

It’s a slight loss to the singer, who paid $ 8.5 million for the property in 2018. She’s been buying the house since last year and most recently listed it for $ 9 million.

Clarkson is still rooted in the San Fernando Valley. Over the summer, she decided to move into a smaller home and spent $ 5.445 million on a 5,000-square-foot colonial-style property a few miles east on Toluca Lake.

On more than 10,000 square meters, the house that has just been sold has eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a cinema, a billiard room, a fitness room and a wine cellar on two floors. The property spans half an acre in the Royal Oaks neighborhood, adding a two story guest house and leafy back yard with a pool, spa, lawn, fire pit and covered lounge with pizza oven.

Kutcher and Kunis list in the Hidden Valley

A large pool and a house.

The 1990s home includes five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, a mahogany office, bar, wine cellar, sauna, and exercise room.

(Simon Berlin)

Now that their sustainable Beverly Hills farmhouse is ready, married actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis plan to sell their East Coast-inspired home a few blocks away for $ 12.25 million.

That’s about $ 2 million more than the couple paid a few months after they got engaged in 2014.

The 7,300-square-foot lot, built in 1999, is a little more traditional than their new property – a stunning hilltop facility they built as a passion project called KuKu Farms, complete with a well and cornfield that they planted and harvested during the pandemic.

The real estate love letter is under attack

A for sale sign under a row of houses.

Townhouses in the Otay Ranch community of Chula Vista in mid-September.

(Phillip Molnar / San Diego Union Grandstand)

It’s the perfect house in the right neighborhood, so the competition is fierce, but it’s a must-have, writes Steve Lopez.

So what are you doing? You bid and offer more than the list price because that’s how crazy the California real estate market can be in many neighborhoods, and then you sit down and write a love letter.

The practice has always seemed creepy to Times columnist Lopez, and he describes it as a scruffy essay contest in the Dream House Sweepstakes.

Such creative writing exercises have been attacked as false attempts by buyers to gain the upper hand over other buyers. And they were banned in Oregon as a possible instrument of discrimination.

What we read

The New York Post awards awards for the most exclusive buildings in New York. But these awards aren’t about architecture and design elements. Instead, they celebrate “buildings that address the real (and dubious) needs of wealthy New Yorkers. The categories include “the overcompensation price”, “the paparazzi-safe building” and “the best building for extra-marital activities”.

Halloween is still weeks away, but the most popular front yard decoration of the year may be hard to find. After going viral and selling out quickly last year, Home Depot’s 12-foot skeleton has sold out again in many of the chain’s stores, and third-party sites are listing the $ 299 item for up to $ 1,200, Business reports Insider.

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